State

CPS is being put under the microscope

Thursday, January 05, 2012

A shocking state audit of the deaths of children in the care of CPS has prompted new legislation from a Fresno assembly member. As Action News reported last year, the review revealed stunning information about sex offenders and foster kids possibly living in the same homes.

Seth Ireland's life came to an abrupt end in December 2008, three days after his mother and her boyfriend tried to give him to Fresno County sheriff's deputies. The 10-year-old already had a lengthy CPS file, but his case worker didn't find out what had happened until it was too late.

"I want to get a law passed in honor to the legacy of my son," said Ireland's father, Joseph Hudson.

Hudson is looking to Sacramento and Fresno assembly member Henry T. Perea to prevent a repeat of the Ireland tragedy. Perea asked for an audit of CPS agencies throughout the state and found several child deaths aren't even reviewed. He introduced a new bill on Wednesday requiring a review after every death.

"These reviews are critical in finding the deficiencies within the system," said Perea, (D) Fresno.

"I think any time you can offer more protection, it's a good thing," said Robb Christopherson.

Christopherson is the principal of Clovis' Reagan Elementary School and the father of ten, including four former foster children. They're examples of the system's success. But Christopherson has seen it fail too, so he supports a bill requiring reviews. "I think it is overwhelming and I think the different cogs, the different systems all trying to work together unfortunately, safety and sometimes common sense get lost in the gaps," he said.

Fresno County's CPS head, Howard Himes says the bill would have little effect on his agency. He says they review every single child death and cases like Ireland's prompt changes to improve the process. But still, not everyone's convinced.

"I don't want to see any more children suffer and in order for that to happen, a law's going to have to be passed for CPS to strap up their boots," said Joseph Hudson.

Hudson got some closure last year when Lebaron Vaughn pleaded guilty to his son's murder. This year, he's re-opening the wounds, hoping to help others.

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Tags:
cps, henry t. perea, state, corin hoggard
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